Being black, communist and lesbian placed a number of obstacles in her life that would make her the poster child for the fight to end racism.
Angela Davis: the muse of antiracist rebellion /
Angela Davis lived through the most drastic changes of the twentieth century. During a period when civil rights in the United States were considered equal, she experienced the contradictions of a system in which a racist agenda was uncommon. However, the reality that was experienced in the streets was different; even her own neighborhood was known as “Dynamite Hill”, in allusion to how often the Ku Klux Klan blew the houses up.
Both her parents were university graduates, an unusual phenomenon in the Forties. Her father, in particular, was a member of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, which influenced Davis greatly. She grew up experiencing a significant and, at the same time, insufficient advancement in civil rights.
As a teenager she obtained a scholarship to study in what was an unknown environment for her: a school where black and white students learned together. Most of her teachers at the Elisabeth Irwin Institute had communist ideas, which would in turn mark her political ideology. Thanks to her willingness to learn and her ability to combine her studies with sporadic jobs, she was able to travel to Europe and to attend progressive conferences that nurtured her search for equality.
Later on, in what was a more mature political phase, Davis participated in the Black Panthers movement and then became a member of the Communist Party, which earned her the destitution from the teaching position she held at the University of California. Her militancy was reported to her superiors at the university by the FBI.
Always with a low profile but fighting restlessly to improve the conditions in North American jails, Davis also became an important role model for social movements. The Rolling Stones wrote “Sweet Black Angel” for her, while John Lennon and Yoko Ono composed “Angela”. Two of the most emblematic musical figures of the twentieth century evoked her and asserted her role as a generational muse.
Davis is still, to this day, fighting for sexual freedom and she continues to inspire thousands of people to take a stand against the injustices that continue to take place every day.Tagged: Angela Davis, racism, Warriors & Rebels Credits: Image (Original footage by Tom Goetz)